When I was a public school music teacher, one of my favorite times of the year was our yearly professional development convention in San Antonio. I’m probably the odd one here, but I really enjoyed getting to see my former professors and colleagues from the University give presentations, and learn from some of the most innovative teachers in Texas, probably more than the social hours in the evenings. I loved learning to perfect my craft, whether it was to become a better teacher or a better musician.
Since I am now a stay-at-home mom, that desire to perfect my craft has never ceased. I’m grateful also for my husband, who seeks out opportunities, and who found a most intriguing gem online. Now, he never really pays any attention to Facebook or YouTube ads, but this time, something caught his eye. It was a teacher named Amy McCready who created Positive Parenting Solutions, and her selling point was a class in which you would learn the basics of “positive parenting.”
If you haven’t yet heard, “positive parenting” is a parenting philosophy that takes a sharp turn away from corporal punishment to a much more gentle approach. It is, however, a far cry from permissiveness, and instead seeks to work with the child in their natural mental habitat, so to speak — in a way that honors their lack of maturity and reasoning skills. My husband signed us up for the course in an attempt to improve our skills and bond at the same time. I can talk about this course all day, but instead of taking away business from my new teacher friend, I’ll just share with you something that whacked me on the proverbial head.
The most important tool in the bucket of parenting tools, Amy claims, is something that we all think to do, and something we all know we should be doing but never really get around to.
It turns out that this one tool can change the behavior in our children in a matter of days if we are consistent. It is hard because it needs to be planned and stay consistent, but makes a huge difference. Even in the first day of using this tool, I did not get what I expected, and learned so many new things about my kids. You won’t be surprised to hear that this magic tool is simply quality time.
At first, my children didn’t know what to do. I thought I was giving them plenty of choices and quality time throughout the day, but it turns out that it wasn’t nearly enough as getting together with them in a room and doing whatever they wanted to do within just a few limits. My baby didn’t want to read, like I expected, she wanted to play and interact with me. My middle child didn’t want to role play, he wanted to play a board game. My oldest didn’t want to play on my phone, he wanted to play instruments and be silly. It made all the difference in our relationships and gave them the opportunity to play in a way they don’t normally get to do. I’m excited to see what this does throughout the summer.
I know we are all planning travel, work, or keeping kids at home this summer, but maybe we can all make some time for individual play time with our kids, even if it’s just 10 minutes. If you really want to take the dive into your own professional development, you can head to www.positiveparentingsolutions.com and join us.